Authors: Jayne Rylon
© 2016 by Jayne Rylon
All rights reserved.
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Cover Art By
, Book 2
Three SCUBA instructors, who happen to be sexual dominants, are about to take the ultimate plunge. If you’re extraordinarily lucky, you’ll be invited to join them on The Divemaster, where work and pleasure go hand in hand. Welcome aboard!
When her mentor is killed in a lab fire, all his notes destroyed with him, marine biologist Sabine Reynolds is determined to finish his work—a cure for an aggressive form of cancer. She needs a specific coral to continue. To find it, she boards The Divemaster to search the waters around Hawaii.
Crewmember Miguel Torres helps facilitate the collection…and brings out a sensual side of Sabine she hadn’t known existed. In the warm tropical waters, she discovers fascinating things about herself and the taboo fantasies she’d never experienced before meeting the sexy guide, who isn’t afraid to take charge during their daytime, and nighttime, adventures.
The Divemaster crew come face-to-face with danger in the form of rival researchers, who’ll stop at nothing to ensure their success at Sabine’s expense. Sabotage, theft, kidnapping, murder, whatever it takes to produce—and profit from—the cure first.
Can Miguel keep Sabine safe and by his side? Or will her enemies put a stop to her research…permanently?
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o Jayne from Mr. Rylon
, keep up the good work. (Also, don’t leave your laptop open and unlocked!)
abine Reynolds bounced
in her laboratory’s ergonomic desk chair as she waited for the video chat to connect on her laptop’s screen. It had been nearly a month since she’d spoken live with her mentor, Heinrich—better known as the illustrious Dr. Geld. Emails didn’t really cut it, especially when he was being so uncharacteristically secretive in his messages lately.
Sure, the time difference was a bitch, especially with her wrapping up a project for the Monterey Bay Institute in California and him still teaching at the Fischer Center for Marine Research in Germany, where she’d recently graduated from the doctoral program he chaired. They usually found ways to touch base more often than they had lately, though.
Heinrich had been obsessed with his current studies, to an even greater extent than usual. He’d missed a few of their regularly scheduled chats and hadn’t responded to her messages for days, even though he was the sort of guy who typically replied in an instant. Marta, Heinrich’s wife, had laughed it off when he’d completely forgotten their thirty-seventh anniversary the week before. Only because it was the first time since they’d been married and she was a much kinder, more patient woman than Sabine.
An absentminded professor type?
That wasn’t the Heinrich they knew and loved at all.
Sabine grudgingly admitted to herself that she was curious, and maybe a tiny bit jealous that he was having so damn much fun without her. The urgent yet furtive tone of the series of texts he’d sent her in the middle of the night—which had practically ordered her to take his call first thing this morning—made her wonder if he’d had a breakthrough.
It had been worth dragging her ass to the lab at the crack of dawn to find out a few more details. Besides, she couldn’t wait to geek out with the man who’d literally taught her everything she knew about marine biology and chemistry. A minor finding wouldn’t cause a scientist as experienced as Heinrich to go bonkers like this. He was in the midst of a major discovery. Sabine was sure of it.
After downing a gulp of her coffee, she checked her watch. Not yet six o’clock and she was already at her desk. Meanwhile, Heinrich would be finishing up his afternoon lecture.
When the incoming call icon appeared on her laptop, she clicked it faster than a mantis shrimp nails its prey.
“Good morning, Dr. Reynolds!” Heinrich beamed when he saw her. He leaned so far forward she could map every wrinkle around his eyes and mouth, a testament to a lifetime of laughter.
It still gave her a thrill to be called by her relatively new title. She’d earned that son of a bitch less than a year ago. The sound of it was glorious to her ears. The result of a hell of a lot of hard work. A compromise with the sides of herself that had warred between roaming the far reaches of the world and doing something meaningful with her life.
Staying in one place for six years had gone against her nature. If it hadn’t been for Heinrich and Marta’s encouragement, she never would have seen it through and reached her goal.
That was probably why Heinrich—who’d become a surrogate father to her—always greeted her in the same way, as proud of her accomplishments as if she was truly the daughter he and Marta had never had. Which was the only thing that could have convinced her not to respond with his title. Respect he’d earned. Still, it made him grin when she used his first name. It was the easiest way she knew to communicate that he’d come to mean more to her than a simple professor or colleague. “Same to you, Heinrich. Er…afternoon, I suppose.”
That’s when she noticed that the German precision with which Heinrich usually trimmed his beard and combed his hair had also slipped some. Tousled looked good on him. But weird.
“Careful…a few more missed haircuts, notes scribbled across your whiteboard, or goofy grins, and you’re going to cross into mad scientist territory.” She smiled at him, certain he knew she kidded out of love. It was amazing to see him so ecstatic.
“Now you sound like Marta.” He waved away her thinly veiled concern.
“She’s a smart woman.”
“It’s true.” He nodded before barreling on, skipping their usual chitchat. His pen tapped against his desk furiously. “I have something important to ask.”
He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment then blurted, “Come home? Work with me on this.”
“What?” It shocked her to hear him refer to Germany as
though she supposed it had become that because of him and Marta and the six years she’d spent under their roof after they’d taken her in.
Sabine considered herself a gypsy of sorts. She’d moved on more often than she’d stayed put in her life. Her parents had been in the military together. She’d traveled across the globe both with them and on her own after they’d been killed in a freak training mission gone wrong when she was seventeen.
Without clear direction, it had taken her a few years longer than the average student to decide what it was she wanted to do with her future, but when she’d met Dr. Heinrich Geld while he’d been on an expedition and she was working in a marina in the Solomon Islands, her fate had been sealed.
She tried to limit her relationships to superficial ones, given her history and her tendency to say goodbye often. With Heinrich, that had not been possible.
He and Marta had wormed their way into her heart despite her reflexive defenses.
“Sabine, please.” This time he wasn’t joking. “I
you. You’ll get full credit. Co-researcher. I—”
“Hang on, Heinrich.” She rubbed her temples, not quite awake enough yet to process what he was saying. “I’m not reluctant or worried about glory or some shit. It’s that I don’t even know what
is, really. You’ve been so cagey. Vague. Something with coral enzymes and their potential use in treating cancer.”
“Shhhh.” He motioned for her to keep her voice down.
“There’s no one in the lab this early, don’t worry,” she promised, though his level of concern seemed like it was in the realm of tinfoil hats. Most people wouldn’t understand their science-speak even if they tried. The rest would be bored to tears after thirty seconds.
“Okay, then.” He spoke so quietly she had to rely on reading his lips to confirm she heard him correctly. “Yes. I believe we’ve isolated a substance that destroys cancer cells without attacking healthy systems. Or maybe it’s reprogramming the rogue cells, resetting them to normal. I can’t quite figure out why it’s happening yet. I just know it is. I’ve never seen anything like this. Nothing even close. It could be…
Heinrich wasn’t one for dramatics. If he was this worked up, it had to be promising. And concrete. Something beyond a theory decades away from practical application.
“Wow.” She didn’t quite know what to say. Or feel. Amazement, joy, and flattery didn’t even scratch the surface. “Of course. If it’s that monumental, I would love to be involved, do whatever I can to make this a reality. Shit, you know I’d be in regardless since you want me back that bad. All you had to do was ask.”
Who wouldn’t want to be part of changing the world so incredibly?
Renown or not, that didn’t matter to her. Being present for someone important in her life, maybe repaying a fraction of what he’d given her…
“Seriously?” He sagged in relief. “I’m afraid if I don’t isolate what’s happening, it could slip away. We need to protect these findings. They’re powerful. In the wrong hands...”
Sabine couldn’t imagine what he meant by that. Regardless, her mind was made up. “Sure. Don’t worry, Heinrich. I’ll be there. Can you give me the two weeks I have left on my grant here to wrap things up the right way?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t expect any less of you.” He winked. “After all, my partner should have the best reputation in the industry.”
She gave a whoop as she considered things in those terms.
He clapped as she did a chair-bound version of a happy dance. Only then did she realize how stressed he had been lately. It wasn’t exclusively excitement causing him to lose his grip on mundane things. The weight of his project was taking its toll. “With you onboard, we’ll have this reaction understood, documented, and published in no time so that a cure can go into production as quickly as possible.”
“Production?” Could he have already made a successful trial version? Be that far along?
No fucking wonder he was going nuts.
“Yes,” Heinrich whispered conspiratorially as he came impossibly closer to his camera. It was sort of creepy and really funny because all she could see was his eyeball, giant-sized.
Which made it insanely easy to detect his biological response to the explosion that sent a shockwave through his laboratory, and her life.
His pupil dilated. He stopped blinking.
Heinrich’s face covered almost the entire screen. In the far periphery, Sabine thought she saw a masked man pass through the frame. Or had it been a shadow? Smoke? Because flames were definitely flickering up the walls. In the background an alarm began shrieking louder than a howler monkey.
Shouts were followed by crashes. “We’ve got it all. Let’s go!”
Were first responders on the scene already?
“Help! Someone help!” she bellowed because Heinrich couldn’t.
And the whole time, he remained still.
“Heinrich!” Sabine didn’t care who was listening in now. She had to rouse him. Black clouds had begun to billow across every inch not blocked by his permanently stunned expression. “Please. Get up. Heinrich, please.”
Fortunately, the heat of encroaching flames melted his laptop, keeping her from witnessing any more gruesome fuel for the nightmares she would certainly have for the rest of her life.
“Heinrich! No!” she screamed.
He couldn’t hear her.
Clutching her middle with one hand to try and hold herself together, Sabine dialed 911 with the other even though she knew it was too late. It took forever to explain to the operator that an emergency was occurring on the other side of the world. Silent tears poured down her cheeks as if she were right there in the cloud of acrid smoke with Heinrich’s body.
He was gone.
Her mentor, her friend, her second father.
His discoveries—the priceless contributions he had been about to make to science and society as a whole—had gone up in flames with him.
Through silent tears, Sabine vowed to honor his memory in the best way she could. She resolved then and there to continue his work and ensure his legacy remained strong by any means necessary. And if this turned out to have been more than an accident, she would make sure those responsible paid dearly.